Obama to Sign Law Limiting $110 Billion in Erroneous Government Payments

By Kate Andersen Brower -Bloomberg

President Barack Obama will sign legislation today to limit erroneous payments by the government and announce a new goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion before 2012, a White House official said.

The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act will help limit improper payments to individuals, organizations and contractors, according to the administration official. The White House said that in 2009 a record of almost $110 billion was paid by the government to the wrong person, in the wrong amount or for the wrong reasons.

The law is intended to create ways to recover improper payments, allow the recovered funds to be used to improve financial management, and ensure that agencies comply with the law.

In the past three years the government paid benefits totaling more than $180 million to approximately 20,000 Americans who had died, according to the statement. More than $230 million in benefits were paid to about 14,000 fugitives or people in jail who were ineligible for them, the release said.

The legislation is intended to help reduce the budget deficit, which is projected at a record $1.55 trillion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, up almost 10 percent from last year’s $1.41 trillion.

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